The College of St Mary of Winchester in Oxford was founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester. Known as 'New College' from very early on, the sobriquet became its unofficial name. Wykeham’s foundation was without parallel in Oxford, providing the largest building to be erected in Oxford since the twelfth century. Until the mid-nineteenth century its students were drawn almost entirely from Winchester College, also founded by William of Wykeham to provide scholars who would be well grounded in latin grammar before coming to Oxford to specialise in the disciplines taught here.
The earliest buildings of the college, situated round the Front Quad, date from before 1400 and contain all the main elements required for a college; all apart from the Founders Library still serve their original function. More quadrangles and buildings added from the seventeenth onwards extended the college beyond that section of the medieval city walls that it still maintains.
The archives comprise the administrative records of the college since 1379, title deeds and manorial records of its extensive estates in twenty- eight counties, and more recent papers and special collections amassed by, or relating to, some of its members (see the Archives page of the college website for details).
Documents amassed before c.1960 were listed in Francis Steer's Archives of New College Oxford (Phillimore, 1974). Catalogues of later acquisitions and special collections are available on request from the archivist.
Archivist: Mrs Jennifer Thorp
Opening hours: Mondays and Tuesdays 10.00 - 1.00 and 2.00 - 5.00 (by appointment only)
New College Archives will open again for pre-booked research visits from 7 June 2021 onwards, Covid restrictions permitting; for further details please contact the Archivist. Meanwhile we will continue to answer enquiries sent in by post or email.
Address: Mrs Jennifer Thorp, Archivist, New College, Holywell Street, Oxford, OX1 3BN
John Buxton & Penry Williams (eds), New College Oxford 1379-1979 (1979)
Christopher Tyerman (ed.), New College (2010)